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Skagway B&B doesn't hide building's brothel past

Published on NewsOK Modified: March 30, 2013 at 10:02 am •  Published: March 30, 2013

They lived on the second story of the store while developing it into a now successful retail shop and starting their family.

After their retail store was up and running and they had purchased the Inn, they began two large renovations. They redesigned the layout of the building, swapping the location of a small retail store adjacent to the Inn with a small restaurant that had previously been developed, and also expanded the restaurant. The couple named it Olivia's, after their first child (of five). They also re-plumbed the building so some of the rooms had private bathrooms.

The second remodel removed the two guest rooms located on the ground floor and put a lobby into that space.

"Every building in Skagway has some kind of history," Karl said. "The contractor found two cards, an Ace and a Jack, behind the stud when they were taking down the oldest part of the Inn. The walls were stuffed with newspaper and horse hair."

The Klupars currently have around 12 staff members, including Karl's mom, and they developed the yard into a garden.

"It's a kitchen garden," Karl said. "A lot of herbs, edible flowers and vegetables. We have enough lettuce greens to make it work, enough mint for mojitos, enough flowers for garnishes and rosemary, thyme and chives."

They added apple trees, and began utilizing the four rhubarb plants already on the premises for desserts they serve at the restaurant.

Karl began a garden gourmet tour, marketed at cruise ship passengers. He buys fresh seafood and has the tour participants go out on a garden scavenger hunt for items he prepares in a live demonstration.

The couple work hard. Really hard. They deal with accounting, tend to the garden, feed their guests and customers and direct their staff. They're part of a city tour highlighting the spicier places from its - quite literally - golden age.

"People think that a (bed and breakfast) owner is standing around holding a cup of coffee," Rosemary said. "Bed and breakfasts are not for the faint of heart."

One thing that Karl and Rosemary both find rewarding is the interaction with their clientele.

"You get to meet a lot of really fun people," Rosemary said. "We've had people that have hiked the Chilkoot trail five or six times that stay with us. Twenty-five percent of our business is repeat business. Of that, about 20 percent are Alaskan or Yukon (residents)."

Karl agreed.

"Staying at a historic place is more fun," he said. "If you're going to go backpacking in Yosemite you can stay at the Holiday Inn, but if you're into the history and (like to) imagine what things were like during the gold rush, it's nice to stay at a place that has the same history; it makes their trip more fun."

Every day is different, Karl said.

"I love that my day is so diverse," Rosemary said. "When you own a small business you do everything. I like the challenge. You have to do your marketing, write your business plans, your budgets, accounting, displays, hiring, product development. It's very interesting. You get your finger in every single pot."